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Mondilla rules ICTSI Caliraya golf tourney by 3

Philstar.com
Mondilla rules ICTSI Caliraya golf tourney by 3
Clyde Mondilla
Pilipinas Golf

CAVINTI, Laguna – Clyde Mondilla bounced back from a string of uncharacteristic performances in Davao with a decisive victory in the ICTSI Caliraya Springs Championship here Friday, turning what was expected to be a closely contested showdown with Keanu Jahns into a convincing three-stroke romp over Angelo Que with a 70.

Anticipating a day-long battle of power and strategy at the wind-raked Caliraya Springs Golf Club, Mondilla effectively set the tone for the outcome with a frontside 35, extending his overnight one-stroke lead to three. He maintained his advantage throughout the day, as Jahns, in his earnest pursuit of a breakthrough win on the Philippine Golf Tour, struggled with his putting and stumbled with a 37 amid challenging conditions.

The backnine transformed into a victory lap for Mondilla, who had endured setbacks in the first two stages of the Tour, missing the cut in the Apo Golf Classic and finishing joint 25th in the Rancho Palos Verdes Championship.

The former Philippine Open champion credited his resurgence to adjustments in his putting, culminating in a pivotal round of 67 Thursday that propelled his title drive in the P2.5 million tournament, the third leg of this year’s Tour put up by ICTSI.

“I made some adjustments to my putting because I lost the feel for it in Davao,” said Mondilla. “I regained my confidence and it worked well here.”

Expressing gratitude for his return to form, the Del Monte ace reflected on his journey back to the winner’s circle, his last victories being a consecutive run at Del Monte and Forest Hills last year.

“I’m so thankful and grateful to have won again,” said the 2017 PGT Order of Merit winner after posting a 10-under 278 total to beat Que by three, earning the top prize of P450,000.

Jahns, despite a birdie on the par-5 No. 4, faltered with bogeys on Nos. 6, 8 and 11. He hardly recovered with two birdies against two bogeys in the last seven holes, ending up with a 74 and slipping to joint third at 283 with Tae Soo Kim, who carded a 70. Each received P151,250.

Kim, who led in the first round of the tournament supported by PGTI official apparel Kampfortis Golf, missed matching Que’s output with a double-bogey on No. 17.

Two flights ahead of the championship group, Que mounted his own charge from seven strokes down with a solid, eagle-spiked 66. But he ran out of holes in his comeback bid, finishing with a 281 for second worth P295,000.

Mondilla acknowledged the pressure from Que’s late surge, saying: “I expected Que to make a charge, so the pressure was there in the back nine. But with a three-shot lead after 9 holes, it seemed meant for me.”

He also praised Jahns for his performance despite a lackluster finish.

“Keanu played well, but he was just unlucky with his putting,” said Mondilla.

Min Wook Gwon carded a 70 while last year’s winner Tony Lascuña shot a 71 as they tied for fifth at 284, Aidric Chan and Eric Gallardo shared seventh place with 286 after matching 73s, while Sean Ramos and Rupert Zaragosa wound up joint 10th at 287 after 71 and 72, respectively.

The victory not only reaffirmed Mondilla’s status but also boosted his morale as he prepares for the upcoming Abema Tour events, part of the Japan Golf Tour’s developmental league.

“I hope to secure a status on the JGT so I won’t have to go through the Q-School. Hopefully, I can perform well there,” said Mondilla, eyeing future successes on the international stage.

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